capsule review

HP L1940

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder L1940

HP L1940
Photograph: Rick Rizner

The HP L1940 possesses many of the checklist items you'd expect in a desirable 19-inch LCD. Height, swivel, and pivot adjustments? Check. Easy-to-use controls? Check. Attractive design? Check. But on the most important item, screen quality, the L1940 finished last among the 19-inch LCDs we looked at in April 2005.

Among the L1940's faults, jurors cited a dark screen with a chilly cast that some perceived as blue or blue-green. Letters appeared blurry on several text screens, particularly the Microsoft Excel screen. And dull colors hampered the monitor's performance on graphics screens, contributing to the lowest graphics score we've seen on a 19-inch monitor lately. Overall, the L1940 earned a Good rating for text and a Fair for graphics.

Even the L1940's better points leave something to be desired. The swiveling function takes the form of a lazy Susan that moves the entire unit; we prefer this adjustment when it swivels the screen only, leaving the stand firmly rooted and preventing cords from sweeping across the desk. We found the dual-hinged height adjustment springy and difficult to set, and the pivot adjustment stiff. Pivoting software is not included, so users who want to make the images pivot to match the screen will have to shell out $40 more for software like PivotPro. The on-screen display menus look handsome, but the actual controls are strictly average. Though the matte silver bezel and large trinket-tray stand look fine, there's little real advantage to a pretty bezel or to a tray much like those available at any office supply store.

The L1940's price--$529 at testing time--lands on the inexpensive side of average. Other monitors, such as LaCie's Photon19vision, provide better image quality and more extras for about $60 more. And CTX's F973 ponies up fewer features, but provides superior screen quality for less cash.

With subpar image quality and awkward physical adjustments, the HP L1940 is a poor bargain at its average price.

HP L1940

19-inch screen; 1280 by 1024 native resolution; 18.5 pounds; one analog input and one digital input; height, pivot, swivel, and tilt adjustments; TCO'03-compliant. Three-year warranty (including backlight); 24-hour daily toll-free tech support.

Laura Blackwell

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At a Glance
  • Pivoting screen and two USB 2.0 ports enhance versatility, but graphics quality is the worst we've seen lately.


    • Extra physical adjustments


    • Very poor graphics quality
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